It is usually believed that wall slip contributes small effects to macroscopic flow characteristics. Here we demonstrate that this is not the case for the thermocapillary migration of a long bubble in a slippery tube. We show that a fraction of the wall slip, with the slip length
$\lambda $
much smaller than the tube radius
$R$
, can make the bubble migrate much faster than without wall slip. This speedup effect occurs in the strong-slip regime where the film thickness
$b$
is smaller than
$\lambda $
when the Marangoni number
$S= \tau _{T} R/\sigma _{0}~ (\ll 1)$
is below the critical value
$S^* \sim (\lambda /R)^{1/2}$
, where
$\tau _{T}$
is the driving thermal stress and
$\sigma _{0}$
is the surface tension. The resulting bubble migration speed is found to be
$U_{b} \sim (\sigma _{0}/\mu )S^{3}(\lambda /R)$
, which can be more than a hundred times faster than the no-slip result
$U_{b} \sim (\sigma _{0}/\mu )S^{5}$
(Wilson, J. Eng. Math., vol. 29, 1995, pp. 205–217; Mazouchi & Homsy, Phys. Fluids, vol. 12, 2000, pp. 542–549), with
$\mu $
being the fluid viscosity. The change from the fifth power law to the cubic one also indicates a transition from the no-slip state to the strong-slip state, albeit the film thickness always scales as
$b\sim RS^{2}$
. The formal lubrication analysis and numerical results confirm the above findings. Our results in different slip regimes are shown to be equivalent to those for the Bretherton problem (Liao, Li & Wei, Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 111, 2013, 136001). Extension to polygonal tubes and connection to experiments are also made. It is found that the slight discrepancy between experiment (Lajeunesse & Homsy, Phys. Fluids, vol. 15, 2003, pp. 308–314) and theory (Mazouchi & Homsy, Phys. Fluids, vol. 13, 2001, pp. 1594–1600) can be interpreted by including wall slip effects.